Meet Robbie - joiner, furniture maker and all-rounder at Plankbridge
Robbie has been involved with Plankbridge from the early days. We used to subcontract the single doors to a local furniture making workshop where Robbie helped out at the time. Both Robbie and his colleague ended up working at Plankbridge full time. He is originally from Hull, Yorkshire where he always played with wood as a child, leading to the successful completion of a joinery course. He was employed there in the holiday home industry, working with his father for the largest manufacturer in Britain. He has lived in Dorset for 24 years and has worked in a diverse range of jobs, from roof truss manufacture to fine furniture.
What does Robbie do at Plankbridge?
Robbie’s main task is to produce the stable doors using English oak. He also backs up the hutmakers in a great many ways, with both his timber and metalwork skills called into action. He is one of the foremost experts in reclaimed materials in Dorset, and is often called upon to line the internal hut walls and make furniture from reclaimed timbers. He sources this from interesting places around the country. Early shepherd's hut restoration projects have required us to match like for like timbers, using pitch pine and elm for example. He is also a go-to man for problem solving, and he has proved invaluable over the years for his positive approach to finding a solution when it’s needed. He can also identify different woods from around the world – quite a party trick. Robbie has lots of party tricks, some of them quite extraordinary!
What’s his favourite place to eat out in Dorset?
Interestingly he says, without much thought, that it is the Square and Compass in Worth Matravers. They only serve pasties, but it’s an amazing pub in a wonderful location with the added attraction of lots of history. It’s like a museum, with industrial archaeology and geology on display. He also likes a good carvery somewhere on a Sunday.
What has he done on the shepherd’s huts recently that he particularly enjoyed?
The new Plankbridge showroom has been a key project for Robbie, he says he tells everyone about it. He’s done the steelwork and the timber walls and is pleased to see it nearly completed, many of the key features of our shepherd's huts will be on display. He’s also proud to have developed the use of reclaimed materials as part of the Plankbridge offering. It’s safe to say Robbie is a very clever maker, and the pride he takes in his work shines through.
What makes for a good weekend?
As he’s involved with a Dorchester dance venue he is something of a night owl at the weekends. If time allows he likes nothing more than long walks, exploring places and metal detecting. He’s a crazy inventor on the side too.
What do you like about Plankbridge?
He says ‘Everything really!’ The work, the people, and how he’s able to self-manage most of the time. Above all he feels supported by the family feel to the business, which is nice to hear.
One last comment from Robbie was ‘you make the place ours as well’, and we can make it feel like yours too. Visit our workshop to meet the hut-makers, see our exciting new showroom and the huts being built.